Providing a stage for atmospheric encounters: Brattøra’s seafront by SLA
Subjectlandscape architecture; perception; experience; agency; affect; immaterial; weather; ground; exposure; wonder; seafront; environment
The article addresses the theme of ‘particular places’ in the contemporary landscape metropolis by focusing on the temporal, climatic and geographic specificity that determines each place as unique. In particular, it explores how design can support the appreciation of a ‘particular place’ by enhancing the readability of its temporal, climatic and geographic constituents through an engagement with local weather phenomena. The article considers the capacity of design to foreground the particularity of a place by connecting to its weather through a critical reading of SLA’s redesign of the seafront of Brattøra in the city of Trondheim in Norway. My critical approach to the project juxtaposes a personal investigation of the design work based on primary experience and the insights of a conversation with SLA’s principal Stig Lennart Andersson, performed and transcribed in 2012 as part of my doctoral thesis. Elaborating on this conversation, the article is articulated in three successive thematic sections, dealing respectively with the concepts of ground, exposure and wonder. Albeit specific to the project, these notions afford the possibility to expand upon more universal considerations of the capacity of design to foreground diffuse, changing and immaterial components of space in human experience. In the conclusive part of the article, I attempt to verbalise why SLA’s work can be considered a valuable reference for the design of ‘particular places’ in the contemporary landscape metropolis.